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President Obama has proposed “reforms” of the NSA, suggesting we need a plan to come up with a plan about bulk metadata gathering on civilians. RICK PERLSTEIN compares Obama’s proposals with the Church Committee’s final report from 1976 on spying on Americans. Short version: the Nixon administration was better.
Also: the My Lai massacre was not an isolated incident; millions of innocent Vietnamese civilians were killed and wounded by American forces—“a My Lai a month” is what award-winning reporter NICK TURSE calls it. His decade of research in secret Pentagon archives and interviews with vets and Vietnamese are the basis of his important book, KILL ANYTHING THAT MOVES: The Real American War in Vietnam–it’s out now in paperback.
Plus: Slavery, freedom, and Islamophobia: GREG GRANDIN uncovered the true story of a rebellion on a slave ship in 1805–by African Muslims– that inspired Herman Melville to rethink slavery and freedom 50 years later. It’s a story with echoes in our own time as Tea Party activists charge that Obama is a secret Muslim from Africa. Greg teaches history at NYU; his magnificent new book is The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World. It is featured on the cover of The Nation this week.